The air outside my house smells like camping.

Do you understand the title phrase? Have you ever felt that way, or heard someone else express something similar? I often share my feelings in terms of smell, which may sound a bit bloodhound-esque, but I believe it is completely valid considering our sense of smell plays such a powerful part in forming memories in our brains. For example, when smelling a particularly delicious barbecue sauce or beef grease, I might mention, “it smells like summer”, as summertime for us means lots of outdoor cooking that includes those two items. When the air outside is very crisp and prickles your nose when you first breathe it in early in the morning, and there is a slight damp smell of decomposing plants, I would say, “smells like fall”. Lately, it has been smelling like camping when I step outside with my dog early in the morning. Camping, to me, smells like clean air with a light mist running through it. It smells like the dew on the ground just before the sun comes up all the way and burns it off. It smells like cool pavement and damp wood and freshly brewed coffee and even a little bit of soap (think, Ivory).
Now, because we have a school year and all of the related duties to finish out, and because it still gets pretty frosty at night, we aren’t going camping QUITE yet. We will be taking a couple mini road trips and hiking adventures, though! Our first mini trip will be an hour and a half drive out to the darling town of Talkeetna. There will be a trip almost twice as long but in the opposite direction to the town of Girdwood. We will venture out to Thunderbird Falls next month for a day hike and picnic, and hopefully make at least two visits up to one of my very favorite places, Hatcher Pass.

Share your plans and adventures in the comments, I would love to hear what adventures or restful trips others are getting themselves into!

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It Isn’t Late Autumn Without Snow

We are looking at our first forecasted week of nighttime temperatures below 32 degrees. It did snow once, and while most of us knew it wouldn’t stick, it was still a bit early to be glad about. Since that September day, many locals have been doing the very same thing we do every year. We look at the calendar like the numbers will reveal secrets, we discuss the weather as though we are too jaded too notice the nip in the air, hem and haw over what the winter has in store for us, and recall winters past. When the snow finally does come to stay, there are the inevitable 763 ditch divers along the highway, followed by the even-more-inevitable head shaking by those of us spared from a well-set patch of ice along our daily commute. It’s ridiculous, this routine of knowing-it-all yet knowing nothing. I’ll be darned if I would ever have it any other way, though.

My first move Outside was to the south. THE South. Bible-belt South. I met my first cockroach before our household goods arrived – every time I recall that meeting, it’s size seems to grow. “Was it really as large as my foot, or was I just a little too close for comfort?”  Groomie (that’s the term I’m trying out to reference my hubby…what do you think?) and I agree that if we could get a do-over down there, we would take advantage of every hot summer day and every trip into the city or country woods we could get our hands on.  We just didn’t appreciate the situation that surrounded us.  Also, I only think it snowed once in over a year.  The next assignment was north a bit, but still considered “south” to some.  It was mid-atlantic for crying out loud!  Oy.  Anyway, while we purposed to enjoy more of the sights in the area, the weather was still a bit much at times.  Some people just shouldn’t get sweaty in public, know what I’m saying?  We got a few snows during the 5+ years around those parts, only one of which stands out in my mind.  Why you ask?  Simply put, my first head-on collision with racism (being a white girl is offensive, you know), plus a very wet snow that I didn’t have much experience with, plus an inept road crew of epic proportions.  We couldn’t be happier to be rid of that place.

Fast forward some years, and here we are in Alaska.  Our root ball has been unwrapped, teased, and set in the ground.  We’ve been soaked in, fertilized, and hardened over a couple odd winters.  Our root system is slowly stretching further and further as we establish ourselves in an odd little city that we couldn’t love more.  So bring on the snow.  Bring on winter and the habits we forget all-too-quickly while soaking up every drop of summer.  We welcome the opportunity to plow, sip hot drinks, use the cold as an excuse to hole up at home for a couple days at a time.